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Full text of "My Country And My People"

324         MY    COUNTRY   AND   MY   PEOPLE

I have no doubt that it prolongs Chinese lives by aiding their
digestion and maintaining their equanimity of temper.

The selection of tea and spring water is an art in itself. I
give here an example of a scholar in the beginning of the
seventeenth century, Chang Tai, who wrote thus about his
art of tasting tea and spring wrater, in which he was a great
connoisseur with very few rivals in his time:

Chou Molung often spoke to me in enthusiastic terms
about the tea of Min Wenshui.   In September of a certain
year, I came to his town, and when I arrived, I called on
him at Peach Leaves Ferry.  It was already afternoon, and
Wenshui was not at home. He came back late and I found
him to be an old man. We had just opened our conversation
when he rose suddenly and said that he had left his stick
somewhere and went out again.   I was determined not to
miss this chance of having a talk with him, so I waited.
After a long while, Wenshui came back, when it was already
night, and he stared at me, saying, "Are you still here?
What do you want to see me for?" I said, "I have heard
about your name so long, and am determined to have a
drink with you to-day before I go!" Wenshui was pleased,
and then he rose to prepare the tea himself. In a wonderfully
short time it was ready* Then he led me into a room, where
everything was neat and tidy, and I saw over ten kinds of
Chingch'i pots and Hsiianyao and Ch'engyao teacups, which
were all very rare and precious.    Under the lamplight, I
saw that the colour of the tea was not distinguishable from
that of the cups, but a wonderful fragrance assailed my
nostrils, and I felt ever so happy.   "What is this tea?" I
asked, "Langwan," Wenshui replied.  I tasted it again and
said, "Now don't deceive me. The method of preparation
is Langwan, but the tea-leaves are not Langwan."   "What
is it then?" asked Wenshui smilingly.  I tasted it again and
said, "Why is it so much like Lochieh tea?" Wenshui was
quite struck by my answer and said, "Marvellous!   Mar-
vellous!"   "What water is it?" I asked.   "Huich'iian," he
said. "Don't try to make fun of me," I said again, "How
can Huich'iian water be carried here over a long distance,